There are often critics of the Mormon Church who try to present certain things as “Mormon doctrine”, when they are not. While I addressed the best places to find and understand Mormon doctrine already, it’s important to understand what we do not consider to be official sources of Mormon doctrine.
Perhaps the most common claim by critics is “So and so was a Mormon leader and he said this, so it must be Mormon doctrine.” This is actually not the case—Mormons do not believe that everything a Mormon leader says is doctrine. Why not?
When a man or woman becomes a leader in the Mormon Church, they are still the same individual. In other words, they still have their own opinions, they still make mistakes, etc. It certainly cannot be expected that everything that they say or write will be in perfect harmony with official Mormon doctrine. Think about it this way: Is every word from every Baptist preacher considered doctrine for all Baptists? Is everything that any Catholic priest ever said to be considered Catholic doctrine? The same is true for all religions.
A couple examples of what I’m referring to would be:
- The Journal of Discourses
- Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie
Therefore, while I believe that the vast majority of things said or written by Mormon leaders are spot-on, you can’t consider every single quote to be representative of official Mormon doctrine.